Twenty-three-year-old UK producer Mosca is exactly where he wants to be in life: hovering above fetid labels like "club," "house," "bashment," "garage," and "grime." Dance music heads in the UK and beyond clamor for his meticulous, minimalist roomshakers; he's currently finishing remixes of Four Tet and Foals, and working on a follow-up to his hit debut EP, Square One; Fabric just released his track "Gold Bricks, I See You" on their January Elevator Music compilation; he'll be carting tons of vinyl ("If you can't mix two pieces of vinyl, you're not a DJ," he offers) to clubs in Bristol, London, Poland, Copenhagen, and beyond this year; and... "I just got five bookings in one day the other day," he remarks. "This whole music thing's kicked off."
His secret for dealing with it all? "Patience," says Mosca, born Tom Reid in Aylesbury, UK. "I'm in no rush to get anything out for the sake of it. When it comes out, I'll be happy with it 100 percent." It's not the most efficient way to work, but it's guided him artistically.
In fact, Reid spent eight months crafting his EP's b-side, "Nike," while working in food service and considering a career in journalism. (He's also the founder of Bruk magazine.) The track alights on a wacked-out beat reminiscent of Madlib, before an 8-bit Casio solo starts ripping it up. It's dubby as hell, transforming into a skittering garage groove four minutes into the 10-minute epic. It feels intuitive, yet surprising. "I always start with a beat," he explains. "I don't start out with something in mind. I just think, 'I want this to be hectic' or 'a banger.' I don't worry about scales or breakdowns; mainly getting the beats and the bass happy."
Reid produces on a simple PC running Reason. He plays bits of piano, keyboards, and drums, but mainly draws on eight years' of samples that skew to his affection for reggae and dub, as interpolated by North London and parts even farther North. "If you can sit down at the computer and turn it on, start some loop up, and eight hours later still be there listening to the same loops—you haven't eaten or gone to the toilet—if you're still hypnotized and enraptured [by] it, then you know you're on the right track," he says. "If you're not sure, sometimes the best thing to do is delete it. Even if you spent a month on it. Just delete and you'll come up with something better the second time."
His name (which is Spanish for "fly," meaning "cool" and a shit-eating insect) is a nod to the recombinant nature of art in the age of mass production. "I like the idea of feeding off other people. Nothing's original anymore." Which is partially a lie—"Nike" is definitely one of a kind. And although Square One was released on L-Vis 1990 and Bok Bok's Night Slugs imprint, Reid remains unsigned because he worries that associating with a particular label will brand his peculiar style for life. Instead, he's content to float above it all. "It's quite a big thing for me," he says. "However broad your label, there are certain connotations attached with every [one]. They get lumped very quickly with a certain type of sound or scene and it's not really about that. I can happily play just a straight bashment night, and think, 'Man, that was nice not having to play house or play what's in at the moment.'"